A Little Spark

Publication Date: 2 Aug. 2022
Format: Paperback / softback

ISBN 9781760526924

    17.99 17.99 17.990000000000002 AUD


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    NOTABLE BOOK: 2023 CBCA Book of the Year, Older ReadersSHORTLISTED: 2023 NSW Premier's Literary Awards, Ethel Turner Prize for Young People's Literature

    I don't tell Mum and Sam anything about my weekends with Dad. It would be giving them tickets into that world. The world Dad and I have created. And I don't want to do that. It's ours. It's all we have. It's all we've been allowed since my parents got divorced.

    Cate gets to spend every second weekend with her dad, and each time something special and surprising happens. Something that fires the creative spark that Cate channels into her writing.

    And everything is fine until Cate's stepdad, Sam, gets offered his dream job in London and her mum decides they are going to move to England with him...

    Cate must decide what she wants for herself. She loves both her parents - but she must choose between them.

    A warm and funny novel full of unexpected twists and turns, joy and heartbreak.


    Book Type: Junior High
    Age Group: 12 to 15 years
    Traffic Lights: Green/Amber
    Class Novel: Yes
    Good Reads Rating: 5/5
    Literary Rating: 5/5


    Thirteen-year-old Cate’s parents have been divorced for seven years, so she’s familiar with all the signs. Consequently, when her best friend Elise reveals that her parents are acting strangely, Cate knows the writing is on the wall.

    That isn’t the only change afoot. Sam, Cate’s stepdad, has been offered a great job in London and her mother is intent on them all going. That would require Cate to leave both her dad and Elise behind, and that isn’t something that Cate can contemplate. This is particularly true in the case of her dad, who she spends every other weekend with. He makes their time together magical by carefully planning events and surprises, as he’s keen to feed her creativity and grow her imagination. When Cate is the runner-up in a prestigious short story competition, she credits her father and the time she spends with him.

    As time progresses, Cate begins to feel like a pawn, as no one seems to be concerned with how she feels in the midst of all that is going on. Eventually, she confides in her father that she wishes to stay with him in Melbourne, so he agrees to go to court and fight for her to stay.

    As a 13-year-old she has no legal rights of her own in the situation. Although the case looks doomed, Cate’s submission impresses the judge, but before the conclusion her father hastily withdraws his opposition to the move.

    Naturally, Cate is devastated and very angry, and won’t even speak to her father. After moving to the UK with her mother and stepfather she still refuses to speak with him. However, within a few months he dies of cancer and the true reason for his change of heart comes to light. He didn’t want his daughter to watch him deteriorating and eventually dying. As a last hurrah he even planned a special birthday event for her.

    This is a superbly written, moving story which, though it covers some quite heavy topics, does so in a relatable and light way with a touch of humor. The author captures beautifully the angst and lack of power that Cate feels as a minor, which will resonate with many readers. An excellent book that is sure to be enjoyed for years to come.


    family, divorce, custody battle, cancer, grief, loss, adventure, imagination, friendship, creativity

    Content Notes

    1. Language: shit x 11, piss off x 2, bastard x 1, buggering off x 1, ‘Christ’s sake’ x 1 (p102), screw you x 2. 2. Brief/mild joke about aliens conducting anal probes (p14)—in reference to stories told by people who believe they’ve been abducted by aliens. 3. When Cate and her father are in a serious car accident and end up in intensive care, her best friend Elise prays for her. Afterwards she tells Cate, and they joke about it because Elise is a self-proclaimed atheist. She tells Cate that if God does exist she must be female, since our male politicians seem so useless (p80-81). 4. Elise takes tablets from her parents’ medicine cabinet in a cry for help. She is distressed about her parents’ looming divorce, but they are so caught up in their own relationship that they haven’t recognised the pain she is experiencing. The tablets she took couldn’t have hurt her even if she took a lot more, but that was due to luck rather than good management (p115-117).

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